Date:   Saturday, January 30, 2016


Location:   Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Promoter:    Main Events-Kathy Duva  /  Interbox – Jean Bedard

Supervisor:  John Duggan, Esq.

Referee:  Michael Griffin

Judges:   Pasquale Procopio, Nelson Vazquez, Steve Weisfeld

Results:   WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev dominated and stopped Jean Pascal after seven rounds, retaining his WBO, IBF, and WBA titles

TV:   USA HBO, Canada Indigo


By Dave Spencer –

In a grudge match for the unified light heavyweight world championship, WBA/IBF/WBO world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) systematically demolished former world champion Jean Pascal (30-4-1, 17 KOs) over seven rounds on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Kovalev dropped Pascal with a jab in round one, but it was ruled a slip. “Krusher” then battered Pascal in every round. Freddie Roach finally pulled the plug after seven rounds of punishment.


Photos: Jose Pineiro/Main Events –

WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev talked about his January 30 grudge rematch against Jean Pascal at a press workout on Thursday at the PAL Gym in Boca Raton, Florida.

Do you want to make him retire?

“I want this, we’ll see. But usually all my opponents stop their career or move their division, but last fight I didn’t finish my job.”

Why fight Pascal again when the first fight seemed so easy?

“First of all, Pascal has said bad things to my side. I have a reason for fighting him. I think Pascal has reason to say thank you to Luis Pabon, the referee for the fight. He forgot to say thank you very much that he saved his health and life maybe. Because he was already “drunk”, you know like spaghetti legs.”

Why fight in Canada?

“I love Canada and Canadian fans. Canada reminds me so much of my home town in Russia. Same atmosphere. Lot of details remember me of my home town and I feel very comfortable in Canada. Big support from Canadian fans. And second thing why I fight in Canada, because Pascal doesn’t want to go to America to fight me or in Russia either. He’s fighting only in his hometown. Ok, I’m ready to kick his ass in his hometown.”

What changed in your training coming to this fight?

“I did a lot of mistakes in our last fight and right now I try to fix it. I try to be better. It’s a secret about my mistakes and just me and my trainer know about my mistakes. I learned from my first fight. Right now I fix it and try to be creative, do everything exactly correct and try to fight more harder and try to stop Pascal early this time.

“Because I was disappointed in my performance in our last fight against Pascal I want to do this much better, much more clear. “I felt very comfortable (in last fight). Judge gave to him two rounds, but I didn’t feel I lost these rounds. I just take time, used a lot of jabs and get lot of points with the jab.

“I don’t feel comfortable to make any prediction because it is boxing, anything can happen. It’s not my habit to say, I will, will, will. Because sometimes you say will and something else happens and then you look like a trash talker. You know? “Pascal is a trash talker. I don’t care what he say because it’s just trash from his mouth. He start speaking trash to (make me) lose my mind and make me nervous; he will pay for this in the ring. Believe me. I am going to make him pay for this.

“It is a more personal fight (because of trash talk).”

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Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev – Mohammedi Presser
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Credit:  Photos by David Spagnolo/Main Events –

The final press conference was held Thursday for the HBO-televised clash between WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) and mandatory challenger Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature will include a ten-round light heavyweight match-up between Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) and Yuniesky Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs).

Sergey Kovalev: “Thank you to WBO. This was my first belt and mean a lot to me. Thank you for this ring. Thank you for everybody that came here today. Thank you Kathy Duva my promoter, Egis Klimas my manager and Nadjib Mohammedi. I want to show this Saturday who I am. I would like to still be champion as long time as possible. I did not get all my goals in my career yet. My amateur career I didn’t give me a lot of opportunities. I was hurt in amateur career and I had to try not to closed doors. Some of my dreams in the boxing and my goals not finished. For my dreams, my goals this Saturday is the next step in my career…I cannot say who is the best. I try to be better with every day, fight and build my career as I would like.”

Nadjib Mohammedi: “I am very excited and happy. Thank you Sergey Kovalev, Main Events and HBO. I have hard work in my training camp for this fight. I am very happy. I promise Saturday a good fight. I am ready. Thank you very much.”

Kathy Duva/CEO of Main Events: “There has been a lot of discussion lately about where the best fighters fight. The place that has developed every major fighter in the last 30 years is HBO and that is why Sergey Kovalev is an HBO Fighter. This event is going to be promoted with a group of great promoters. Krusher Promotions, Sergey’s promotional company, will be our new partner going forward. Our sponsor is Myagkov Vodka. It is so nice to be back here at Mandalay Bay. We have had a long relationship with Mandalay Bay going back to Fernando Vargas. It is in my view my favorite place in Las Vegas to come. It is associated with the great people at MGM International and my good friend Richard Sturm.”

“Our first time in Nevada was in 1981 when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns. This is my first time working with the current commission here in Nevada. We are forging a good relationship with them. I want to thank Cisco Aguilar and Bob Bennett.”

“The first time Sergey Kovalev fought in Las Vegas it was on an undercard. Those fighters work just as hard as everyone else. We have a great undercard for this Saturday’s event and it is always fun to watch the undercard fighters because you never know if one of them could be the next Sergey Kovalev. The opening bout on HBO World Championship Boxing telecast will feature Jean Pascal, the former light heavyweight champion of the world, against the undefeated Cuban Yuniesky Gonzalez. Pascal is truly a warrior in the best sense of the word. His promoter is InterBox and he also has his own promotional company, Jean Pascal Promotions.”

“We got to know Nadjib Mohammedi a year ago when he fought Anatoliy Dudchenko on one of our shows. He came in as the under dog and came away as the mandatory challenger. I thank God every day for the day I met Egis Klimas and he brought me Sergey Kovalev. He has a great team around him. Sergey Kovalev’s trainer is a former world champion. I have known John David Jackson for a long time and he is one of the best trainers in the world. Bernard Hopkins said to me that Sergey is getting better with every fight. He is powerfully fast and shockingly dominating. He is the kind of guy that people want to see. Hopkins warned Sergey not to get complacent. I think a mark of a great fighter is no matter what you do you are never satisfied and that is the best way to describe Sergey.”

Bob Bennett – Nevada Athletic Commission: “On behalf of the Nevada Athletic Commission, we are pleased and privileged to bring you this fight. We would like to thank Main Events, HBO, Richard Sturm and Mandalay Bay and last, but not least, we really want to thank the fighters because without them none of us would be here.”

Paco Valcarcel – WBO President: “Sergey Kovalev was a sensation. Sergey, we have something for you. He is a great human being. He is a great fighter, outstanding. You going to have a lot of excitement in this fight. We have a real diamond ring for him. This is something we give to our champions.”

Egis Klimas – Sergey Kovalev’s Manager: “Good afternoon. First I want to thank Don Turner who gave me my first steps in boxing. He is the man who introduced me to this sport. He noticed Sergey and told me I had to sign him. Coming back to Vegas brings back a lot of good memories because this is where Sergey won his first belt. He won the NABA Light Heavyweight Title. We were celebrating here and he grabbed his belt, put a shirt over it and brought it downstairs. He said he wanted to give it to me. He gave it to me and said it was our title together. I still have it at my house, he never took it back. I want to thank HBO and Nadjib Mohammedi for taking this fight, Mandalay Bay and media for coming for this good event. We are looking for one of the best fights in the light heavyweight division. When Sergey came to United States in 2009 the light heavyweight division was dead and nobody was talking about it. I strongly believe the division is burning today and that is because of Sergey. There is not a match in this division that happens without mentioning his name.”

John David Jackson – Sergey Kovalev’s Trainer: “I am not going to talk too much. I am going to let Sergey do the talking in the ring Saturday night. But I was a WBO champion during my career and where is my ring, Paco? (laughing)”

“I think Sergey Kovalev is in the top five fighters pound-for-pound and he can become #1.”

Vince Caruso: “Nadjib Mohammedi, a lot of people didn’t know who we were not too long ago. After Saturday he will be known everywhere. I can make two guarantees: He will weigh 175 pounds tomorrow on the scale and he will have the best game plan possible. That is because of Abel Sanchez, who I believe he is the best trainer in the business. When Nadjib’s trainer couldn’t make it into the country back in November, I had the chance to call Abel to step in. It is like putting sugar in the Duncan Hines…Nadjib Mohammedi is Saturday’s challenger but he will be Sunday’s champion.”

Jon Ali – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Co-Manager: “I am glad to be here with my brother, Nadjib Mohammedi. I am very proud of him. Back in France he came a long way to get here. Saturday night will change his life forever.”

Abel Sanchez – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Trainer: “Nadjib earned this right by moving up the ladder to become the #1 contender. I believe we are fighting the best light heavyweight in the world. We know we are fighting a very tough guy. I hope everyone enjoys the fight.”

Jean Pascal: “Hi everybody. There is no place like home. I have been fighting at home my whole career. I am glad to be in Vegas, it is my first time fighting here. Every fighter on my level wants to fight at least one time in Vegas. This is my chance to make a statement on Saturday night. I know am still among the best in the world and best in my division. I know Yuniesky Gonzalez is hungry and he wants to make a statement. I want to give you guys a great show on Saturday night.”

“My philosophy is the best must fight the best. I believe I am still among the best in the world. I am the best light heavyweight in the world but I had a bad night on March 14.”

Yuniesky Gonzalez: “Good afternoon. Thank you to Jean Pascal team, HBO and Joe DiGuardia and Kathy Duva of Main Events for this opportunity. Gracias. We are going to see high quality boxing from Yuniesky Gonzalez Saturday night.”

Pierre Duc – InterBox Promotions: “Good afternoon. InterBox has been one of the lead promoters in Canada for a long time but this is our first time in Vegas, so this is a great thrill for us. Thank you to HBO, Kathy Duva and Main Events for having us here. Following Jean Pascal’s fight with Sergey Kovalev one of Pascal’s requests was to step back into the ring as soon as possible. We are so happy to make this happen for him. You are going to see a very exciting fight on HBO. Jean Pascal is a former light heavyweight champion. Kathy Duva described him as a warrior. This is going to be a long and very difficult fight for both fighters.”

Marc Ramsay – Jean Pascal’s Trainer: “Thank you for being with us today. After the fight with Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal requested a fight right away on HBO with the best opponent available. With the style of both fighters we are going to have a great fight. We had a great training camp and it should be a great fight Saturday night.”

Joe DiGuardia – Star Boxing, Gonzalez’s Promoter: “Thank you. It is great to be back here at Mandalay Bay where I have also had some great fights and my best success stories. I want to thank Kathy Duva and Main Events from having us, Peter Nelson and HBO for giving this opportunity to Yuniesky Gonzalez. Jean Pascal is a great champion. Sergey Kovalev is one of the greatest of our time. Yuniesky Gonzalez is pleased to have this opportunity. Yuniesky Gonzalez is an exciting fighter. I guarantee you will see an exciting fight with Yuniesky Gonzalez and Jean Pascal. Yuniesky Gonzalez has been clawing his way to get this opportunity and he will take advantage of it.”

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas


Kovalev’s arm is lifted aloft by the fight referee after stoping Pascal in the eighth round

Russia’s Sergey Kovalev stopped Canada’s Jean Pascal early in the eighth round Saturday night to retain his three world light heavyweight titles.

The large Bell Centre crowd booed when referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight, with the dazed Pascal (29-3-1) against the ropes from a series of blows from Kovalev (27-0-1).

And the Canadian wasn’t happy with the stoppage, immediately calling for a rematch after the bout was stopped, insisting: ‘I was still in the fight.

Russian Kovalev retained his WBA, WBO and IBF titles during the bout in Montreal


Kovalev (right) lands a right to the head of Canadian Pascal during the light heavyweight bout


The Russian Kovalev (left) lands a left to Pascal’s body during the unified bout in Montreal

The fight was the first time that Pascal (right) had been stopped in his career

‘Kovalev looked to have won seven of the eight rounds in the scheduled 12-round bout.

‘How I started I didn’t like,’ said Kovalev. ‘But after the fourth round I got control of Jean and what you saw — I got him with a good right hand and he lost.’

Kovalev retained his WBA, WBO and IBF titles. Pascal, the former WBC champion from Montreal, was stopped for the first time in his career.

Kovalev (left) hands a head shot on Pascal with his right during the fight at the Bell Centre



Kovalev (right) gets a punch with his right to the head of Pascal as his opponent tries to avoid it


Canadian Pascal (right) lands a body shot on Kovalev during their championship bout


Pascal looks dazed in his corner as he is given a pep talk during the fight at the Bell Centre


Pascal gets the standing count from the referee after falling in the third round of the fight

Sergey Kovalev,

Sergey Kovalev,from Russia, holds up his belts after defeating Jean Pascal, from Montreal, with an 8th round TKO Saturday, March 14, 2015 in Montreal. Kovalev defends his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization light-heavyweight titles.  Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS –

Jean Pascal showed plenty of heart, plenty of guts — just as advertised. But he also appeared to be overmatched against Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev retained his three light-heavyweight titles — the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization — with an eighth-round technical knockout against Laval’s Pascal Saturday night before approximately 12,000 Bell Centre spectators.

The end came at 1:03 of the round. Kovalev scored with a left against the ropes, then quickly landed an overhand right, prompting Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon to stop the bout. Moments earlier, Kovalev was dropped, but Pabon ruled it a slip.

Pascal looked on in disbelief, as though he was shocked, when the fight was stopped.

Kovalev remains undefeated and improved to 27-0-1 with 24 knockouts. Pascal slipped to 29-3-1.

Sergey Kovalev v Jean Pascal

Sergey Kovalev (right) lands a punch to the head of Jean Pascal during their unified light heavyweight championship bout at the Bell Centre on March 14, 2015 in Montreal.  Photo:  Richard Wolowicz /  Getty Images

Kovalev looked like he had Pascal finished in the third round, when he scored with a right hand. Pascal slipped slightly through the ropes and appeared in serious trouble.

But he survived and came on in rounds five and six, swinging from the fences and scoring with overhand rights. Pascal was wild and unorthodox, throwing punches from angles and landing as often as he could. But he also missed as frequently.

It was clear and obvious Kovalev was the more polished and accomplished boxer. Indeed, the Russian-born Kovalev had Pascal hurt with a left hook near the end of the seventh round. Pascal stumbled back to his corner.

Sergey Kovalev v Jean Pascal

Jean Pascal (right) lands a punch to the head of Sergey Kovalev during their unified light heavyweight championship bout at the Bell Centre on March 14, 2015 in Montreal.  Photo by Richard Wolowicz /  Getty Images


Kovalev was making the fifth defence of the WBO title he captured in 2013 against Nathan Cleverly, stopping him in the fourth round.

Kovalev has dismantled all opponents who have gotten in his way since then, although many have lacked star power. Those included Ismayl Sillakh, Cedric Agnew and Blake Caparello. The latter caught Kovalev off-balance, knocking him down in the opening round, before Kovalev roared back to stop him in the second. He defeated Sillakh in November 2013 at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City.

Kovalev had hoped for a unification bout against Blainville’s Adonis Stevenson, the World Boxing Council 175-pound champ. Indeed, a deal had been agreed upon according to Main Events and HBO. But things changed after Stevenson signed with Showtime.

Stevenson said he wanted a fight against veteran Bernard Hopkins. But Hopkins eventually pulled an about-face, signing to put his version of the light-heavyweight titles up against Kovalev last November in Atlantic City. The winner would control three of the division’s four titles.

Kovalev dropped Hopkins in the first round, scoring with the first decent punch of the bout, but never could provide the finishing salvo. Hopkins appeared to be in survival mode and lost a unanimous decision. It marked the first time Kovalev fought beyond the eighth round.

Pascal, meanwhile, lost his first title opportunity back in 2008, vanquished by Carl Froch when they met for Froch’s super-middleweight belt.

Undaunted, Pascal moved up to the light-heavyweight division, capturing the WBC title against Adrian Diaconu. Pascal beat him again in their rematch, then handed Chad Dawson the first defeat of his career before fighting Hopkins to a majority draw. When they met in the rematch five months later, Pascal lost a decision in May 2011.

Pascal scored a unanimous decision against Lucian Bute in January 2014, but had fought only once since then, capturing a two-round no-contest against Roberto Bolonti last December.

It was hardly the ideal way to tune-up for Kovalev.

Date:  Saturday, March 14, 2015


Location:   Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Promoter:    Main Events (Kathy Duva)  / Interbox (Jean Bedard)

Supervisor:  Luis Perez

Referee:   Luis Pabon

Judges:   Cesar Ramos (68-64); Richard James Davies (68-64); Zoltan Enyedi (68-64)

Results:   The Champion Sergey Kovalev retained the WBO/WBA/IBF Lt. Heavyweight Title against Jean Pascal by TKO in round number eight.

TV:  USA HBO   Hungary Sport 2   Canada Indigo   Canada Viewers Choice


By:  Martin Hines –

Russia’s Sergey Kovalev is one of the most powerful boxers in the world, and the 26-0-1 superstar defends his WBA Super, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles on Saturday night against Canada’s 29-2-1 Jean Pascal.

Kovalev last fought back in November as he dismantled Bernard Hopkins over 12 rounds, and despite knocking Hopkins down in round one, this was Kovalev’s first decision victory since 2010 and his performance over the longer distance was very impressive.

32-year-old Jean Pascal built his career at Super middleweight, before moving up to Light heavyweight in impressive fashion. Across a ten year career he has lost just twice, to Carl Froch in 2008 and Bernard Hopkins in 2011, while he is undefeated in his last four fights.

The bookmakers see Kovalev as a wide favourite at 2/11 with Pascal available at 5/1. Although the Russian is incredibly powerful, he was dropped by the unheralded Blake Caparello last year, though those hoping to wage money on a Pascal stoppage at 10/1 should perhaps hold off, as Pascal has only finished one opponent since 2009.

A longstanding issue with Pascal has been his stamina, which against a fighter of Kovalev’s marauding ability could be a recipe for disaster.

Pascal will need to start fast to prevent the Russian from establishing a rhythm, but by doing that he will expend energy at a far quicker rate.

The Canadian does have home advantage in Montreal, but Kovalev proved in his victory over Nathan Cleverly in Wales that a rabid away fanbase does not bother him in the slightest.

This will be an entertaining clash for as long as it lasts for, and is a genuine world class title match.

Chief support on the undercard is a Heavyweight clash between 28-6 former Cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham and Vyacheslav Glazkov.

Since losing to Tyson Fury in April 2013, Cunningham has picked up three successive wins over respectable opposition, while Ukrainian Glazkov is undefeated across his 20 fight career.

Elsewhere, a Light heavyweight clash between 17-0 Vasily Lepikhin and Isaac Chilemba will be a tactical affair and could set up a potential match with the winner of Kovalev and Pascal.

Berto vs Lopez, Saturday night 2.00am, BoxNation

Following the debut Premier Boxing Champions show last week which drew excellent ratings in the US, Al Haymon’s second event features two welterweights with much to prove.

29-3 Andre Berto has lost three of his last five fights, and the former WBC champion is in danger of wasting his excellent talent.

His opponent, the 33-6 Josesito Lopez has won his last three matches, but has failed to reach the heights many expected after he defeated Mike Dallas Jr and Victor Ortiz a couple of years ago.

With the need for exciting fights to entertain TV bosses, and the slightly weak chins of both fighters, expect a stoppage in the middle rounds.

Elsewhere on the card in California, Shawn Porter returns for the first time since losing his world title to Kell Brook against late replacement Erick Bone, while Heavyweights Chris Arreola and Gerald Washington compete in separate matches, where a win for both could set up a future match between the two.

There are seven British cards on Saturday night, including an event from Goodwin Promotions which airs on Matchroom’s Fight Pass platform and features Lee Markham vs Jahmaine Smyle for the English super middleweight title, Larry Ekundayo vs Dale Evans in a British welterweight eliminator, plus outings for the likes of Johnny Garton, Leon McKenzie and Ashley Sexton.–boxing-on-tv-this-weekend-10106858.html


Sergey Kovalev (R) punches then-IBF and WBA light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins on Nov. 8, 2014. Hopkins lost by a shutout decision. Photo by Naoki Fukuda.

This Saturday, unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev will face former titlist Jean Pascal in Pascal’s adopted hometown of Montreal.

The Kovalev-Pascal contest pits the heavy-handed offensive force of nature from Russia against the more athletically gifted Pascal, who also possesses a sturdy set of whiskers, though has shown a tendency to fade later in fights. 

Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 knockouts) sprang to prominence when he travelled to the U.K. and ripped the WBO 175-pound title from the grasp of Nathan Cleverly in the summer of 2013. He followed that with three consecutive knockouts to set up his unification with Bernard Hopkins last fall. Kovalev showed once again that fighting on the road isn’t a problem and neither is going the full 12 rounds, impressively using his greater strength and underrated skills to win a shutout decision against the Philadelphia legend. 

Former WBC champion Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs) enters the bout on the back of a disappointing second-round no-contest against Roberto Bolonti, in which the Argentine seemed happy to stay on the canvas after being hit while the referee tried to break a clinch. Previously, Pascal had beatenformer IBF 168-pound champion Lucian Bute, ending another spell of inactivity in a career plagued by them over the past few years. In Montreal, Pascal is something of a rock star and will be cheered on by a boisterous crowd. Can he keep his emotions in check and perform to the best of his capabilities, which at times have fluctuated?

Super middleweight titleholder Andre Ward expects a close fight and is torn on who wins.

“I think it’s going to be a very competitive fight,” Ward told “It’s a great opportunity for Pascal, and Kovalev has a lot of momentum coming off of the Hopkins victory so it should be a great fight. asked 20 boxing insiders for their picks: 

Jean Pascal (L) of Canada punches BernarAFP/Getty Images

Nathan Cleverly, former WBO light heavyweight titlist 

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: It’s a good fight, a good opponent for Kovalev. Pascal is a world-class fighter, he’s been around that level for a long time. Kovalev is too big, too strong, punches too hard, all around too many tools for Pascal. I think Pascal will move early, he’ll be cagey. He likes to move around on his feet early, he likes to use the ring sometimes/ I think he’ll try that. I think Kovalev will cut the ring down, nice long shots, use his range, use his length and bit by bit break up Pascal and I think he’ll get Pascal out of there. I think mid-to-late rounds. I can’t see Pascal taking Kovalev’s power. 

Norm Frauenheim, THE RING Magazine/

Sergey Kovalev TKO 10 Jean Pascal: Jean Pascal’s fast hands figure to give Kovalev trouble early, but not long enough for him to upset the determined, unflappable Russian. Kovalev figures to walk him down in a single-minded pursuit, eventually putting him within range for power shots that will fracture Pascal’s will, if not a couple of ribs, in a late-round stoppage.

Doug Fischer, Editor of

Sergey Kovalev by late TKO Jean Pascal: I think Pascal’s awkward/unorthodox and mobile style enables him to trouble the technically sound boxer-puncher in the early rounds, while the former champ’s underrated durability and fighting heart allows him to last into the late rounds once the Russian titleholder begins to zero in on his midsection and cut the ring down. Pascal, who can crack, will have his moments when engaging along the ropes but I think the power, accuracy and combination punching for Kovalev will force a stoppage sometime after the ninth round.

Jeffrey Freeman, www.KODigest.TV

Sergey Kovalev TKO 5 Jean Pascal: There is no reason whatsoever for Sergey Kovalev to take it easy on Jean Pascal like he did on 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins last year. The Haitian-born Canadian Pascal is a wild man and a wildcard but he’s not going to defeat the unbeaten Kovalev, regardless of where they fight. Pascal’s best chance is to go on the attack early. That strategy will also be his undoing if he does it. The pick is “Krusher” by TKO in five rounds and so it now looks like the end of the road for Pascal as a serious force to be reckoned with in the top-heavy light heavyweight division. 

Tom Gray, 

Sergey Kovalev TKO 5 Jean Pascal: Bernard Hopkins labeled Pascal a four-round fighter and pretty much proved that theory correct across two fights, dominating the Haitian-born Canadian down the stretch in both meetings (a draw and a Hopkins win). If it takes Kovalev four rounds to begin having his way with Pascal then I frankly expect a fifth-round stoppage. Read into that what you may, but the Russian world champion is a ferocious puncher and an underrated craftsman. I like Kovalev in this fight and, despite Pascal’s ability to absorb a shot, I like him big.

Jean Pascal (R) of Canada punches BernarAFP/Getty Images

Eleider Alvarez, light heavyweight contender

Jean Pascal UD 12 Sergey Kovalev: Jean Pascal by unanimous decision. He has had perfect preparation. Kovalev is stronger but Pascal’s better. He will surprise Kovalev.

Andreas Hale,

Sergey Kovalev TKO 8 Jean Pascal: Pascal doesn’t really know what he’s in for and although he’ll be able to keep his distance early with his solid boxing and speed, he’ll eventually be walked down by Kovalev and get crushed in the middle rounds en route to an 8th-round stoppage.

Kenny Adams, trainer of 25 world champions

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: I’m going to have to pick Kovalev. I just think he’s shown he can get knocked down (Against Blake Caparello) and get back up and battle and that to me in important and the other guy has shown that at one point in time he might have a little quit in him and he doesn’t take it as good as he gives it. It’s going to have to be a knockout.

Virgil Hill, former two-time light heavyweight champion

Sergey Kovalev mid-round KO Jean Pascal: Kovalev, he’s the man right now, he’s that guy. You know, I’ve seen him get hit with a couple of shots and rocked. He’s a frontrunner, he’s going to go right out there. He’s tall, long, lanky, he’s got good power in both hands and a real tough guy. I kind of question the level of competition [Pascal] has fought compared to Kovalev. I don’t know, unless Kovalev has trouble with southpaws, it’s gonna be a short night. I don’t think it goes the distance. Mid-rounds I think. I think [Pascal is] going to run a little bit, he’s going to try to be elusive, but if Kovalev can cut off the ring and line up that heavy right hand – he has a good left hook to boot – it could be a short night. Just depends on if he can catch up to him.

Glen Johnson, former light heavyweight titlist

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: I think Kovalev should win easily inside three, four rounds at most. Pascal is a good fighter and I don’t see that changing but I think the fight should be over in three, four rounds.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda:


Diego M. Morilla,, RingTV,

Sergey Kovalev W 12 Jean Pascal: If there was a way to measure the power of every separate punch, Kovalev would probably notch the most consistent possible numbers. He fires for effect in every deployment of his superb weaponry. He is an improved, more agile version of Carlos Monzon, working behind a bone-crushing one-two with impeccable accuracy and then jumping in to land his combinations. Pascal may have a chance if he tries to swarm and overwhelm him with his combinations, but Kovalev will stay at the right distance and land with enough power and continuity to notch the decision – or even a late-round stoppage.

John J. Raspanti, Monthly Magazine

Sergey Kovalev TKO 9 Jean Pascal: Last November, hard-hitting Sergey Kovalev showed Bernard Hopkins and the world that’s he not just a one-trick pony. He defeated the wily veteran by outboxing him. Jean Pascal’s last bout was bizarre no-contest against Roberto Bolonti. Prior to that fight, he won a 12-round grudge match against Lucian Bute. Pascal has some skills, but Kovalev appears to be the superior technical fighter. Kovalev will break Pascal down and stop him before Round 10.

Matt Richardson,

Sergey Kovalev in 9 Jean Pascal: How can you not like Kovalev in this one? Sure, Pascal’s movement and herky-jerky style could give Kovalev some hesitation early on. Eventually, however, he will start to connect and once he does, Pascal won’t be able to stand for much longer. Kovalev the boxer did outstanding against Bernard Hopkins last November but I expect the puncher to be back against Pascal. Assume it takes a few rounds to get his rhythm but then it should be all Kovalev. Kovalev in 9.

Cliff Rold,

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: Pascal should take Kovalev some rounds and give him some tests with his speed. That’s not enough for the erratic and sometimes sloppy challenger. Kovalev breaks him down and a corner stoppage is possible.

Michael Rosenthal, THE RING Magazine

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: I think Jean Pascal has the all-around ability and experience to give Sergey Kovalev some trouble but, in the end, this is the Russian’s time. We know all about his punching power. And he left no doubt against Bernard Hopkins that he has the refined skills to execute a good game plan. He appears to be a complete fighter. I think Kovalev will patiently pick Pascal apart and stop him late. Kovalev KO 10.

Kalle Sauerland, Sauerland Event

Sergey Kovalev KO Jean Pascal: Kovalev wins by KO in the ninth.

Adonis Stevenson, WBC and RING light heavyweight champion

Sergey Kovalev W 12 Jean Pascal: I believe it will be a very good fight. The lack of competitive fights for Pascal since he fought (Bernard) Hopkins and his lack of action will play a role against him. You have to be a puncher and apply pressure to beat Kovalev and I don’t think Pascal can do that. Kovalev will win. Maybe it’s by decision because of Pascal’s strong chin, but I won’t be surprised if it ends in a knockout. Pascal will have his moments, though, especially early on.

Dominic Verdin,

Sergey Kovalev KO inside 8 Pascal: Kovalev is on a mission to become the best light heavyweight and so far he’s accomplishing his mission. Pascal will provide an excellent prizefight for his cheering fans in Montreal. However, the many cheers and the early accolades bestowed upon him will not be of any help. Kovalev will land hard and early, sending down the proud Haitian fighter in his adopted hometown of Montreal. Pascal will battle back, although it will be his demise, with the heavy exchanges in the middle of the ring ending matters inside eight gruesome rounds.

Final tally: 17-1 in favor of Sergey Kovalev to win Saturday’s light heavyweight title showdown with Jean Pascal.